I was already considering re-thinking her age in this first chapter, actually. I haven't really had much to do with 5-year-olds, and I based my ideas about her ability on my nephew, who is 8. However, if she's had her very literate grandmother's undivided attention as a personal home-tutor, I feel her reading/grammar level might be quite advanced for the (whichever) age she is.

I've added in a sentence after the palace word first comes up:

"Palace, I thought, I’ll have to ask grandma what kind of place a Palace is. It sounded like a place with a capital letter. Like Kensington. Though with less syllables. There had never been any palaces in the stories my grandma had told. Looking back, I suppose she wanted me to dream of heroins rather than princesses, and real people rather than princes and kings."

What do you think?

It's also funny you picture her as a Victorian street urchin, as that's kind of how I picture her, somewhat Dickensian maybe (but without the pages and pages of description). But yes, it's set in the future, when Europe's economic "luck" (exploitation, colonialism, slavery) has finally run out.

Thank you again for such incredible feedback, I've just started going through everything and making changes!

China specialist, feminist, political scientist in progress. Reviews, socialism & everyday academia. Low-brow, no jargon/acronyms. Editor of The Open Bookshelf.

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